Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tropical Christmas act I: a bewildered Christmas - Bangkok, Thailand

It's winter again, December, Christmas. The atmosphere wraps us up, with lights and banners, the ritual songs, fake snow on the windows. Girls in miniskirt wearing felt hats are handing out fliers for a new nightclub, while in the restaurant the notes of White Christmas are mingling with the soft blow of the air conditioner. A Santa Claus is shaking a cattle-bell to attract new customers for a shopping mall. He stops for a moment, puts down the bell, lifts his beard of fibers and wipes his face. This tropical Christmas is out of its element; and you cut through the sultriness, looking for shade, among tourists in flip-flops, shorts and shades. 

Image: "Merry Old Santa Claus" by Thomas Nast, illustration from the January 1, 1881 edition of Harper's weekly.

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